Q. If you are still an unknown writer, should you provide a synopsis along with your query letter - or is this too much for the agent to read?
No, for three reasons.
One, it is very, very hard to write a good synopsis. One tends to write the plot. Characters don't come through well. Tone barely comes through at all. Comedy dies in a synopsis.
Two, very few people can read a synopsis. A script can read like a movie, but to properly read a synopsis, you have to really think about how the sentences are going to be fleshed out in the script. Most people don't take the time or effort, or don't know how.
Three, the point of a query letter is to get someone to read your script. If they don't like the query, they won't read the synopsis. If they do like the query, and you've sent a synopsis, they'll read that, and they might not like it. Why put any friction between the query and the script?
Of course your query really has to rock. As part of my script critique service
, I've read queries that really don't sell the concept that's in the synopsis. Spend some time honing your query and making sure it really sells your script.
Sometimes you have to write a synopsis, because someone is insisting on reading one. In that case, don't write a synopsis, write a pitch. Don't write a ten-page beat-by-beat recap of what happens in your script. Instead, off the top of your head, write the story of your script, as if you're telling it to someone in a bar. Feel free to put things out of order if that sounds better in the story. Often a subplot is better told on its own. Try to avoid cutting back and forth in a pitch. Feel free to be real detailed about the setup and real vague about the ending. I would never send more than a 3-5 page pitch unless it's a requirement for some kind of application. Keep the beat sheet to yourself.